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1  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 01, 2015, 06:17PM
I'm not forgetting that--she would have been a better choice than Obama. Everyone seems to get nominated one election past their pull date, like McCain.

She would have lost to McCain and Caribou Barbie. Where the Frak would we be now if that had happened.

2  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 01, 2015, 11:06AM
We'll see. I know I see Bernie more on social media that I do any of the other candidates from either side. This may be the first "post mainstream media" election. Bruce. Bernie is a NOT a socialist. He is a Social Democrat. THere is a significant difference, and it will be up to him to make that differentiation apparent to the American voters. I'm not sure enough of us are educagted enough to get that. His agenda is, by a wide margin, the best one for America that is being offered by anyone in this horse race.
3  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: May 01, 2015, 09:58AM
Bernie:
I have frequently told anyone who has asked that Hillary Clinton would not be my first choice as the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, but if she was, she would be orders of magnitude preferable to whoever in the GOP clown car won the derby to run against her. Well, someone whose policies and positions I find orders of magnitude preferable to Hillary’s has now thrown his hat in the ring.
 
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont this week became the first announced opponent of Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Sanders, who calls himself a Social Democrat from the Northern European mold faces a long, uphill struggle to have any hope what so ever of winning the parties nomination, and an even steeper climb to be viable in the general election.
 
That said, Bernie is a breath of fresh, open, honest air in a political system that is permeated by everything but that. He is an unabashed supporter of the average American, and the worst nightmare of the ruling oligarchy that runs both parties in this country. It is hard to imagine him being competitive in the big money game that is modern American politics, but maybe his principled stand in opposition to that game will be resonant enough to carry his campaign forward.
 
Many have suggested he is running strictly to force Clinton to move her policies and positions further to the left. I don’t believe he would go to the expense and personal cost of mounting a campaign if he did not genuinely feel he could win it.
 
My main questions about his candidacy have to do with the readiness of the people in this country to hear his message. For those of us who recognize the fact that a progressive agenda is the only agenda that has ever provided long term peace and prosperity to everyone in this country, Bernie is way over due. Sadly, 100 years of Conservative propaganda has convinced way too many of us that long term peace and prosperity “trickle-down” from the rich, a farcical notion that reality has proven false time and again.
 
I see Sanders as an idealist in the mode of George McGovern, who lost to Richard Nixon in 1972. My belief is McGovern’s loss was due to the political pendulum swinging to the right at that time in our history. It just may be Bernie’s time now.
4  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 24, 2015, 05:31AM
TPP

If we still lived in 1950’s America, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the President is seeking fast-track authority for MIGHT be a good idea. In today’s world I am going to require a whole lot more convincing before I sign on as a supporter.

This deal has been negotiated in secret, and most of what is in it appears to have been written by the corporate and financial interests that stand to gain immense profits from it. I say “appears to have been” because the entire process has been done behind closed doors, with no oversight from anybody.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren claims, “I actually have had supporters of the deal say to me ‘They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.”

She goes on, “Think about that. Real people, people whose jobs are at stake, small-business owners who don’t want to compete with overseas companies that dump their waste in rivers and hire workers for a dollar a day—those people, people without an army of lobbyists—they would be opposed. I believe if people across this country would be opposed to a particular trade agreement, then maybe that trade agreement should not happen.”

I have to agree. The history of trade agreements entered into by this country is not a pretty one for the average American. The largest one, NAFTA, has been a disaster for American workers. Corporations are allowed to move their manufacturing to nations where they can pay slave wages with little or no environmental regulation. The result has been stagnant pay structures and a shifting of all economic growth to the top 1%. The TPP will be NAFTA on steroids.

In the 1950’s, America had strong unions and a tax structure that would have ameliorated the effects of these pacts, insuring the middle class saw the benefits of them. 35 years of tax-cutting, “trickle-down” economic policies and union busting by the GOP have stripped all those protections from our society.

President Obama asks that we trust him when he says he would not do this deal if it were not in the interest of the American middle class. For the most part, I am inclined to trust this President. But, in this case I STRONGLY support the concept of “Trust, but verify”.

No fast track for the TPP. Let us see what’s in it.
5  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 19, 2015, 08:48AM

Interesting. The 3rd chart does not list at all that any money is being spent what-so-ever on poor folks who are not under 18, pregnant, or elderly or disabled. It shows 100% of Texas Medicaid spending going to those 3 categories of Texans. THere are an awful lot of PEOPLE in Texas who need access to health care that are not even mentioned in that article. According to the charts, the state did not offer Medicaid to PEOPLE not in one of those categories prior to 2014 and the enactment of the PPACA. And, they are fighting NOT to provide that needed help to those PEOPLE now!
6  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 18, 2015, 01:37PM


Holy cow.

According to the figures cited, the 'danger' is that people who are currently eligible for Medicaid will sign up? So Texas's objection is that in order to get marginally indigent citizens insured nearly for free, they'll have to insure the most indigent Texans (whom they're already on the hook for, legally) for forty cents on the dollar? Sorry, I'm just a dumb businessman, but that sounds like a hell of a deal.

There's a reason that you're not hearing much about this, in precisely these terms--if it's the real reason, it's reprehensible. If Texas won't protect its most needy on a deal like this, they aren't interested in doing so. If 4/5 of the new signups weren't previously eligible, doubling the size of the budget for the program after accepting Medicaid expansion would result in nearly five times as many Texans getting insurance. So we have a state whose governor brags about how low taxes improves state revenues, but they don't have enough money in the state coffers to help the most needy with the most basic of human needs, even if the feds pay for the bulk of it.

Just one of the reasons I am such a proud EX-Texan. Not that FloriDUH is that big of an improvement, if at all. THe people of Texas are great, but they have let the worst of them run the state for a very long time.
7  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 17, 2015, 06:45AM
Wrong thread.
8  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 17, 2015, 05:39AM
This week's effort:

LIP

Most of the time in this column, I take issue with the national GOP over their ineptitude and inability to govern. But, things aren’t any better here in Flori-DUH.
 
Take the on-going kerfuffle over the LIP (Low Income Pool) and Medicaid expansion. Taking the federal dollars and expanding Medicaid should be a no brainer. The LIP, negotiated by Jeb Bush when he was Governor, is a fund used to treat the poor who cannot afford health insurance when they must seek care at emergency rooms. It is the single least cost effective way to supply health care that exists on the planet.

Because of the federal monies allocated to expand Medicaid in the PPACA, LIP was scheduled to sunset last year as those poor were absorbed into the Medicaid system and provided with health insurance. The state was able to negotiate a one year extension, but that is about to expire, and the ideologues we have put in control off our state do not seem to be able to figure out this no brainer.

Through LIP, Florida receives around $2 Billion that goes to hospitals to cover indigent care. Under the Medicaid expansion Florida would receive approximately $5 Billion that would provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Floridians who cannot afford it otherwise. This would allow them to access preventive and non-emergent medical care through Dr.’s offices rather than ERs.

There are so many advantages and improvements in that model it would be impossible to list them all in a piece this short. As a former paramedic, I can attest that removing as many non-emergent patients from ER rooms would be a tremendous improvement in the care of true emergencies, and the cost savings would be ENORMOUS.

So, while the numbskulls we have running Tallahassee chase their tails fighting over how not to get this right, the State is about lose $2 Billion it will have to make up through higher taxes somewhere while $5 Billion sits in Washington with FloriDUH’s name on it just waiting to be dispersed.

Governor Fraud has flip-flopped like a fish on the deck over the Medicaid expansion. First he was against it. Then he was for it. Now, he’s against it again, and suing to keep the inefficient LIP program going.

I guess, for a no-brainer to work, there has to be a working brain somewhere. Wish we would elect some.
9  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 14, 2015, 08:47PM
Sure... and that's why the GOP has made the last few congresses the least productive in history, with the more filibusters then all other times combined.

That's why a simple syntactical issue about the federal government providing support for people on health exchanges is before the supreme court now, instead of being a quick easy fix.

What are you smoking?

Where the Frak is the LIKE button?
10  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 12, 2015, 08:22PM
Some interesting concepts expressed there. Certainly the kind of "outside the box" brain-storming that needs to done on this issue, as well as so many others.
11  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 10, 2015, 05:45AM
Body Cams

“This is the song that never ends,
It just goes on and on my friends………..”

WE just had another verse to a never-ending song played out this week in SC. Yet another unarmed, black man was gunned down by a policeman. True to form, the story emerged of a black man who initiated a struggle, a police officer in fear for his life, and another black life ended too soon.

This might have been the story of the event that became the official record, as it does in SSOOO many others, were it not for the fact there was a hero with a cell phone recording the event. This citizen held onto the video for several days, weighing his fear for his own safety against the grief of the family and a desire for justice, before turning the video over to the family who released it to the local paper and the NY Times.

The video directly contradicts the narrative being pursued by the investigators up until its release. It clearly shows an officer not in personal peril calmy firing eight shots at the back of a fleeing man. After the man goes down, the police officer retrieves an object, probably a taser, and drops it next to the body, setting up his original narrative.

Nobody keeps records on exactly how many times a year citizens are killed during confrontations with police. One has to hope that will change as episodes like this one more and more frequently come to light. Estimates are there are more 1000 deaths a year at the hands of those who are pledged to “Protect and Serve”.

It is a truth that almost all of these killings are the “justifiable homocides” their investigators rule them to be. The juvenile obsession with gun culture we have in this country virtually assures police will experience armed confrontations on a regular basis, and the cops mostly get it right. But, we have no clue how often a situation like the one in SC this week gets swept under the rug by a thin blue line that too often succumbs to the Us vs. Them culture that leads to whitewashes and cover-ups.

Body cameras, and policies mandating their use, on every police officer interacting with the public should be a top law enforcement priority in this country. Good cops need that protection, and bad cops need to be gone.

12  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 07, 2015, 06:07AM
There are clearly a lot of you people who choose to believe Obama about this framework deal. Some of you even admit that Israel doesn't have a right to exist, Iran has the right to have nuclear weapons, and some even think that Texas doesn't have the right to exist either.

So, since you people feel that way, I guess I am wrong. hahaha.



 Boy, talk about false premises and false equivalencies.....
13  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 06, 2015, 02:11PM
As my NRC friend pointed out quite succinctly, while Iran may have been moving in the direction of nuclear weapons during the Ahmadinejad days, there is little, or no, evidence that they have continued on that path in the last decade or so. The Supreme leader has issued a "Fatwa" against the development of nuclear weapons. The right continues its crusade against Iran because it needs fear and hatred of a BOOGIEMAN to keep their non-critical thinking base from realizing how completely bankrupt their economic and foreignolicies are.
14  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 06, 2015, 08:50AM
What you people gonna do when Iran accomplishes its goal of weaponizing and delivering capability of nuclear weapons?

You know, it is virtually impossible to have a legitimate discussion with someone who just absolutely refuses to live in the real world.
15  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 06, 2015, 08:49AM
I was more in favor of the sanctions before Obama started relieving Iran from them. Better than where we are today.

Those sanctions were unilateral and worthless. Iran was going ahead with whatever they chose to do with no regard to those sanctions because. no matter how much Conservatives want it to be true, unilateral US sanctions just are not enough to force another country to our bidding. Re: Cuba. It was only the multi-lateral sanctions regime this President was able to persuede the Security Council to impose, no matter how much Conservatives hate and deny the fact, that brought Iran to the negotiating table. And the bulk of those sanctions are still in place and will remain so until Iran demonstrates its cooperation and adherence to the deal it makes.
16  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 06, 2015, 06:26AM
The other thing to note is that the international community is not looking to keep harsh sanctions for unreasonable lengths of time per Israel's satisfaction. We can keep the sanctions as long as we want, but we cannot make other countries maintain theirs. And without those, we fail.

Exactly. And then the neocons get the war they want so badly. But, at point the USA will be the bad guys in the eyes of the world. We are setting ourselves up to be the rich cattleman in the movie "Open Range" with Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall.
17  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 06, 2015, 05:58AM
First of all, we have fifty years of evidence 90 miles south of Key West that unilateral sanctions are worthless. We also have the evidence that Iran did not come to the table under the unilateral sanctions imposed by Bush. It was only AFTER this President built international cooperation and imposed harsh multi-lateral sanctions, which HAVE NOT been removed, that Iran came to the table.

I went to school with a friend who got a PHD in nuclear physics and spent 35+ years working for the NRC inspecting nuclear plants all around the world. Here are a couple of FB posts from a similar thread we are having there, with much the same level of discourse from the two sides.

"Under IAEA protocol, Iran like other member states has the right to enrich uranium for non-strategic purposes related to power production or medical/industrial research. One has to question why, many years ago Iran decided to enrich uranium. They claim it is for use in power and research reactors and for export. But for all their effort and resources, they have not enriched significant quantities of U beyond about 20% which is good for a research reactor like you find on many US universities, but is far short of what is needed for a nuclear weapon. IAEA has verified this through inspection and other technical means. Highly enriched uranium produces a very distinct radiation spectrum that can be detected with great accuracy even if the production facility has been cleaned out prior to inspection or backfilled with low enriched U. It is virtually impossible to produce strategically significant quantities of weapons grade uranium gh enriched uranium usable for a nuclear weapon in a facility that is both undetected by remote means, and  These facilities  it is
It is virtually impossible to produce strategically significant quantities of weapons grade uranium in a facility that is both undetected by remote means during inspections and through IAEA monitoring methods. If the Iranians decided to try to enrich to weapons grade, they would have to disconnect the monitoring equipment and deny inspectors access. This would trip a response. Building a covert enrichment facility would be a waste of time (see history of Iranian Fordow underground facility)."

"We are negotiating because years ago, IAEA had discovered undeclared facilities which were not under the IAEA protocol and another enrichment facility Iran had started, the underground Fordow facility, which it had not declared and was trying to operate covertly. That was under the Ahmadenijad administration. The IAEA referred the action to the UN which called Iran on the carpet for these facilities. But Iran dragged its feet on some of the undeclared facilities such as Parchin which they claimed were military facilities not under the IAEA protocol (it has since been dismantled). Then the enrichment centrifuges Iran was operating were significantly damaged by the Stuxnet virus which was developed (likely by either the US, Israel or both) for the specific purpose of damaging beyond operability the precisely balanced centrifuges. There were also some other technical reasons the Iranians had problems with their centrifuges. After Ahmedinejad and Stuxnet, Iran seemed to stop its covert enrichment and IAEA determined the quantities and enrichment specs on the materials Iran had enriched. Most of it was less than 20% enriched which is far below weapons grade and was consistent with the fuel Iran was burning in its reactor. My personal opinion is that Iran once had intentions on developing a weapon through enrichment but stopped sometime in the early 2000s largely because the world was onto it and had showed the ability to sabotage their efforts. They could always reverse this course but we would have a better chance of knowing it with an intrusive inspection and surveillance protocol which is called for in the framework. One thing about inspections and surveillance, if you try to get around them, the gig is up and military options come into play".
18  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 04, 2015, 06:51AM
And the position of our President has consistently been, "Iran WILL NOT get nuclear weapons". What part of that do you not understand?
19  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 04, 2015, 06:07AM

Can we at least agree that the 'problem' is that Iran is about to have nuclear weapons with delivery capability?


No, we cannot agree to that. Iran is NOT about to have nuclear weapons. ALL progress in that direction came to a complete standstill two years ago when they came to the negotiating table. They DO currently have a breakout window in the 2-3 month range should these negotitaions fail, but IF this agreement is finalized, that window is pushed back to a year or more.

Here is the first Pro/ Con article I have seen. It doesn't get too deep in the woods with much detail, but it is a start. My first thought is that the biggest PRO for the Left ios the biggest CON for the right, and that is NO WAR!!!

http://news.yahoo.com/ap-analysis-iran-deal-leaves-major-questions-unresolved-193357790.html
20  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Apr 03, 2015, 07:19PM
No. If we get nothing, they go back to developing weapons at the pace they were before this President's actions brought that development to a standstill when these negotiations started. Their current pace is NO DEVELOPMENT AT ALL, and has been since the beginning of this process. I will be all too happy to see the pros/ cons list Dusty wants. I may even do one myself next time I'm on a real screen. It is a VERY one sided list.
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